Did you ever notice that certain phrases used on a daily basis could carry so many different meanings depending on the situation and the intonation of the phrase? In South Korea, the phrase “yuh boh sae yo” is used on a daily basis. Yuh boh literally translates to husband or wife in English so only married couples use this term in Korea. So if you were married, you’d call your wife or husband yuh boh instead of their name. This is where it gets interesting because the phrase yuh boh sae yo can be said to anyone and not just to your husband or wife. It is quite weird to me after thinking about this phrase that people who are single say this term as well when the literal translation of yuh boh is for married couples only. Also, this phrase is said by any gender and any age regardless of what social position they hold in South Korea so it can be said by anyone.
In South Korea, when you first pick up the phone, people answer the phone by saying “yuh boh sae yo?” which in this case would mean “hello, who is this?” Or “hello, how are you?” Also, when you are talking on the phone and you say “yuh boh sae yo” several times repeatedly, it means that you can’t really hear the person in the other line so it would mean something like “hello? hello?! I can’t hear you.” This is where the intonation comes in place with this phrase. Depending on how you say it, in what situation you say it, and with what kind of tone you are saying it with makes this phrase have a completely different meaning. And I mean completely different as the person saying it knows what they mean but the person that hears it doesn’t really know the exact meaning sometimes. You have to almost guess what they mean when they say this phrase to you but to native Korean speakers, it is usually understood without saying what they mean.